This article appeared in the Spring 1978 (Issue #51) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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The Search for the Golden Hind.
In October, 1977, the Evening News generously sponsored an excavation in Deptford (South-East London now, but originally in Kent) to search for the remains of Drake's famous Golden Hind. It is recorded as having been preserved in a creek at Deptford in 1581 and certainly William Camden saw the decaying remains of the ship in about 1630. The following account of the excavations, directed by Mr P Marsden, appeared in the Evening News dated 22nd November, 1977, and is reproduced by permission.
WHY THE HUNT ISN'T OVER YET ... by Felix Barker.
So near and yet so far . . . This sums up my feelings about the Quest for the Golden Hind on this, the last day of the excavation. Since the first spade went in at the beginning of October, 5,000 Londoners have been attracted to the Deptford site. The search for Drake's ship has stimulated world- wide interest, and hundreds of schoolchildren have visited the excavation for lessons which have brought Elizabethan history alive.
It is tantalising to stand on the edge of the large rectangular trench — 12 feet deep and 20 yards long — that looks like a family swimming pool drained for the winter. Those clay, sand and rubble walls, so neatly labelled with archaeological information, are a silent challenge. If only we could spread further! Within a few yards — perhaps no more than a foot either way — may lie the remains of the Golden Hind. I say "may" for no one can be sure; and Mr. Marsden is cautiously not committing himself. But he is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the ship was docked within 200 yards of where he and his team have been digging.
As he also points out, the timbers of the Golden Hind are likely to be preserved. In fact, at the bottom of the trench are the strong oak foundations of a ware- house looking as new as when they were put down three centuries ago. They could equally well belong to a ship.
As you walk alongside the Thames at Deptford Strand you may at any moment be standing over the Golden Hind. This is why I believe the search may not yet be over.
True, in the next week or so the trial trench will be filled in. In the earth will be buried records of this 1977 dig (including a copy of the Evening News you are now reading) — trophies and information for future archaeologists as yet unborn!